Why Every Household Should Own a NAS Drive

A NAS drive, or Network Attached Storage drive is one of the best investments you can make to help improve the connectivity and functionality of the IT in your home. Here is why every household should own a NAS drive…

What is a NAS drive?

A NAS drive is basically a hard drive that plugs into your network. Most connect directly to your router via an Ethernet cable, and some even connect wirelessly. Once connected to your network you will have immediate access to all files stored on your NAS drive by simply browsing to the folder share(s). Think of it like a mini server in your home.

Access your files anywhere

There are many services that already enable you to get your data anywhere. Dropbox, Bitcasa, Ubuntu One & OwnCloud to name but a few. However, if you have a lot of data to store and you don’t want to pay the monthly fee’s for these cloud services (or if you don’t have a spare machine and/or the the skills to create a server in the case of OwnCloud), or even if you just don’t trust “the cloud” then accessing your files on your NAS is a great alternative.

A NAS drive won’t let you sync your files like these services will, but the vast majority of NAS drives will have an FTP server embedded so that you can connect to this from anywhere and copy data to and from your NAS drive. With free tools like FileZilla on the market, you will be able to easily connect to your NAS from anywhere provided you have setup your router right.

Don’t know how to setup your router? Why not ask a question in our forums and our community will be happy to help.

Use it as a media server

NAS drives tend to come with a large amount of storage, with most being at least 1TB in size there is plenty of space to store all of your music, video’s and pictures so that you can stream them to the devices connected to your home network, and like I said before, you can FTP these files if you need to get at them when away from home.

I personally use my NAS drive at home to stream music and video to multiple devices including my Xbox 360, my Android devices running XBMC and also my Raspberry Pi in the bedroom. It’s so convenient having my entire movie and music collection in one easy to manage place.

Backup, backup, backup

Having your own NAS drive means you have a single point of storage. This means that many free backup tools like DeJa Dupe in Linux/Ubuntu or To-Do Backup in Windows can backup to the NAS drive automatically as it’s always turned on and ready to serve. Should the worst happen and your device fails, you know you can always rely on your trusty NAS to server your backups.

Because I have my NAS drive setup with access over the internet via FTP, I actually use it to backup my websites including RefuGeeks. A backup is generated on my server and then pushed via FTP automatically to my NAS drive everyday to ensure all my hard work is safe and secure.

Torrent Tastic

Many people use torrents to download software, movies, music and a tonne of other stuff. Some NAS drives have a torrent client embedded so if you setup your router right, you can add torrents and leave them downloading 24/7 from anywhere in the world. So if you’re discussing an interesting movie, documentary or a piece of software in work, you can connect to your NAS drive, download the torrent and have it ready by the time you get home that evening.

NAS Torrent

NOTE: At RefuGeeks we do not condone any illegal activity or piracy. When we refer to “torrents” we are referring to items that are freely and legally available. If you choose to download illegal content via torrent then that is completely your own choice.

Conclusion

I use my NAS drive on a daily basis. I actually have two. I have a 1TB Buffalo LinkStation Live that is used for my media like music and movies, and also my torrent downloads. Then I also have a 2-disk Synology NAS that is using 2x2TB disks in a RAID for all of my backups. NAS drives are a massively powerful and an absolute must for any household with numerous machines.

I’ve always used Buffalo & Synology NAS drives because that’s what I know, and what I think are the best. However, I’ve also used Netgear and Lacie NAS drives in the past and they’re pretty good too. NAS drives are cheap (around £80 for a 1TB Buffalo) but extremely useful, if you don’t have one already then you should seriously consider purchasing one.

Do you you use your NAS drive in a different way than we have explained above? Why not tell us in the comments section…

Why Every Household Should Own a NAS Drive
User Rating: 3.3 (5 votes)
  • Henry

    Hi. I’m not sure if you’re aware that Synology has an application called Cloudstation for their NAS devices that essentially allows you to create your own private Dropbox? I purchased the device mainly for that reason and have happily discovered the many other applications it offers.

    • http://www.refugeeks.com/ Kev Quirk

      Hi Henry,

      Yes I was aware that Synology had that capability (amongst other things), but I have a large amount of storage in “Copy”, and the synology client wasn’t available for Linux the last time I checked. They are awesome devices though, and I intend to make synology my next NAS when the Buffalo goes.

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